Syria is enduring one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Women and girls are suffering widespread rape and forced marriage on top of the mass displacement, starvation and armed attacks threatening millions of civilians. In partnership with grassroots women's groups in Syria and surrounding refugee communities, MADRE is delivering aid and trauma counseling to women and girls. We're also training women to document and prosecute rape as a weapon of war and demand a voice in peace talks.
Syrian women and girls have been targeted with sexual violence used to terrorize, a threat many have cited as their primary reason for fleeing the country. But as refugees, they are still at high risk of sexual violence. As refugee families grow more destitute, women and girls face increasing threats of early marriage and forced prostitution. Women and girls sold into marriage or prostitution are extremely vulnerable to abuse and risk serious health hazards.
MADRE is delivering lifesaving aid to Syrian refugee women and girls, including emergency medical supplies, solar lanterns to prevent nighttime assaults on women, and community-based trauma counseling. In addition to receiving the care and counseling they need to heal, we're also training women to document, denounce and eventually prosecute rape as a weapon of war. Women will learn to seek justice so that they can begin to rebuild their lives after the serious traumas they've endured.
MADRE is advocating for Syrian women's independent participation in peace negotiations. By connecting Syrian women to peace activists from across the world to share lessons learned about building communities back from conflict, we are laying the groundwork for women's voices to be heard in calls for peace and represented in negotiations. Syrian women will learn to negotiate peace agreements that produce a lasting, sustainable end to war and safeguard women's human rights.